Register Now for Annual Conference - Monday Memo 3/1/21

March 1, 2021

2021 Convention Website Live; Register for Convention NOW!

Many of you have already made your reservations for the ABI Annual Convention, the 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference.  For those who have not yet registered, you can do so now.  Simply click on for all kinds of information about the convention speakers and terrific Iowa City/Coralville venues.  

Based on our fantastic speakers, fabulous location, and great program, I can assure you this 118th annual convention, which will be held June 8-10, will be a spectacular event.  The bottom line is that you simply won’t want to miss it.  Click on the link above and make your convention reservation now. 

ABI Board to Meet March 9

The March meeting of the ABI Board of Directors will be held at 1:30 p.m. and conclude by 3:30 p.m. on March 9thWatch your email in-basket on Thursday (March 4) for the usual message with meeting links.  On behalf of ABI Chair Steven Bradford (HNI Corporation, Muscatine), I hope you can all participate.  

Vaccine Update

ABI continues to work with state and local officials related to distribution of the various COVID vaccines now being deployed throughout Iowa.  The big news is increased doses of vaccine are being received starting TODAY throughout the state.  In addition, a third supplier (in the form of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) is sending doses later this week to supplement the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer

There finally seems to be consistency among counties that manufacturing production workers in close contact are eligible for the vaccine, but there is still a very wide variance in distribution.  Some ABI members are having employee vaccinations at their plant, while others cannot get appointments arranged at all. State officials tell ABI that things should undergo a dramatic improvement in the next 12-14 days.  We’ll stay on this; we know how important this issue is to you and your employees. 

Quarterly ABI Iowa Business Survey to Open Today

All board members and former Chairs of the Board will receive an email message from me later today related to the ABI Quarterly Iowa Business Survey. This survey applies to the second quarter of 2021.  The survey is now underway and it will close at the end of the day next Monday. 

Survey results will be tabulated and shared with you, the public, and the media.  Thank you for your participation in this initiative. 

Leadership Iowa Class in Davenport This Week

Davenport is the location of the next session of the 2020-2021 Leadership Iowa class, which will be held this week.  Some members of the class will convene Wednesday evening.  The majority of the session will take place Thursday and Friday and will focus on advanced manufacturing and transportation.  

This group of class members has been another in a string of terrific LI classes.  Look for more information at the board meeting on March 9. 

Legislative Update Teleconference a Week from Friday

ABI Vice President Public Policy JD Davis and Director Public Policy Brad Hartkopf will again host a teleconference to give you the very latest information from the Statehouse.  Updates on bills, legislative proposals, state actions, and other matters will be covered in the call.  Your specific questions about those topics are also very much welcomed. 

The next call will be held a week from Friday, on March 12th, at 8:00 a.m. and you and your employees are encouraged to participate.  The members-only call is free as a part of your ABI membership, but please register at      

Now is the Time for Your Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa Nominations

As you know, Business Horizons and Leadership Iowa are two of the ABI Foundation’s most successful programs.  For several decades, these programs have been making our state better. 

Your nominations are vital to ensuring the quality of the programs continues.  Nominating your employees and community people is easy and it is FREE.  Go to for general program information and to make your nominations.  And, look for a full report about Foundation activities at next week's meeting of the ABI Board of Directors. 

Biennial Workers' Compensation Webinar Later This Month

Every two years, ABI hosts a Workers' Compensation Seminar.  This year's event will be held on March 23 by Zoom.  

The program will include the latest information on the subject, as well as information about best practices being utilized by other companies.  Click here for more information and to register:    

Survey: Assessing the Pandemic's Impact on Iowa Businesses

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is once again partnering with the University of Northern Iowa to undertake a survey to assess the current impacts of the pandemic on Iowa’s businesses and nonprofit organizations. Please take the survey by March 17 at 5 p.m. The IEDA will use the information collected through the survey to inform its public policy and programming in response to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on Iowa. 

NAM Report a Strong One This Week

This week's edition of the National Association of Manufacturers' Monday Economic Report reports strong growth in retail spending and manufacturing activity.  And it highlights a number of other data points that confirm growth.  It’s a very strong report to get the week started right.  If you wish to read the report for yourself, simply reply to this memo and I will get it to you at once. 

The Business of ABI: What an ISU Professor Says About Supply Chain Disruptions

Some ABI members have shared concerns about supply chain disruptions.  (Note: In the beginning of the pandemic, ABI assisted members in finding new suppliers to take the place of suppliers that had been shut down.)  To get a handle on this issue, I spoke with an Iowa State University professor who is an expert in supply chain and logistics.  Here is what Dr. Peter Ralston ( told me. 

Peter shared that one of the leading causes of disruptions is that (now that it appears vaccines and other things are leading to a lessening of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) consumer demand has rebounded much more quickly than anyone anticipated.  That demand, which is only expected to increase, has caused a drain on inventories (which were already down due to the pandemic).  

Further, something called factor market rivalry is coming in to play. FMR refers to competing on more than simple demand.  It involves competition on the supply side; for parts, for scarce raw materials, for transportation capacity, and much more.  HMR means that one decision cascades down to others, influencing the entire supply chain as a whole. 

I asked Peter how long disruptions are expected to last.  He told me that most experts predict that disruptions should begin to ease in about six months.  Then I asked what advice he might have for companies looking to avoid disruptions.  To win the supply chain battle, he said, there is one strategy that works almost every time: be ready to pay the highest price. 

If ABI can be of assistance with a supply chain issue or any other, please call on us.  In the meantime, I’ll keep having my son teach me about exciting things like factor market rivalry.